Liberals: Museums Should ‘Cut All Ties’ with Climate Skeptic David Koch

Green bullies are at it again, this time trying to shame museums into dropping conservative philanthropist David Koch and his money.   

A group of alarmist scientists wrote an open letter claiming museums like the Smithsonian’s Museums of Science and Natural History in Washington, D.C., and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City have compromised their “integrity” by accepting money from him.

The attention-grabbing effort earned media attention from The New York Times, Vice and others, who took the opportunity to repeat liberal talking points on the Kochs and climate change. Vice promoted a Koch critic who called them “the enemy of science and the enemy of the environment.” MSNBC took the opportunity to cite United Nations’ claims that the “extreme effects [of climate change] are already being felt on every continent and across the world’s oceans.”

Huffington Post Live also covered the campaign on March 25, from only one side interviewing two signers of the letter and an additional Koch critic.

The letter, signed by 39 scientists was a Who’s Who of the alarmist crowd that included James Hansen, Kevin Trenberth, Michael Mann and Joseph Romm. They insisted the “only ethical way forward” was for Smithsonian “cut all ties” with climate skeptics and the fossil fuel industry.

“We are concerned that the integrity of these institutions is compromised by association with special interests who obfuscate climate science, fight environmental regulation, oppose clean energy legislation, and seek to ease limits on industrial pollution,” the scientists said.

A related petition, called “Kick Koch off the Board!,” called on both museums to eliminate Koch from serving their institutions’ respective boards. That petition said it was “time to get science deniers out of science museums.” Both the letter and petition were organized by a group called The Natural History Museum. Left-wing blog Daily Kos co-sponsored this petition, while lefty-eco groups Greenpeace and Sierra Club sponsored similar petitions.

Both museums have denied that Koch influenced any of the content at their institutions. American Museum of Natural History spokesman Roberto Lebron said, “Donors do not determine the interpretation or presentation of scientific content,” according to the March 24 edition of The New York Times.

American Museum of Natural History Director of Public Affairs Randall Kremer also told the Times that Koch “signed our standard gift agreement, which prohibits donor or sponsor involvement in content.” He also said there were no plans for Koch to step down from the museum’s board.

Yet some liberal outlets dismissed the museum’s claims, saying Koch influenced displays at an exhibit he sponsored in the Hall of Human Origins at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

The liberal blog Think Progress decried the “wildly misleading Koch-funded exhibit that downplays the risks posed by human-caused climate change” March 23. Think Progress is part of the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress, which has received $10,117,186 from Soros since 2000.

HuffPost Live aired a segment on March 25 called “Scientists Versus David Koch.” Producer and host Ricky Camilleri asked lefty Climate Progress founder Dr. Joseph Romm, “How on Earth can we say that David Koch had no editorial influence on this whatsoever when it seems to me all the evidence is pretty clear that there was some sort fingerprint on the hall?”

Romm said he took the Smithsonian’s claim “at face value” that Koch was not directly involved in the exhibit. But Romm insisted “there are many ways that money buys influence.” He suggested that the Smithsonian avoided adding displays to the exhibit that “might antagonize” Koch, because of Koch’s significant contributions to the museum and because he was on the institution’s Board of Directors.

The irony of the climate scientists’ outcry was that the Smithsonian is outspoken about its views on climate change. An Oct. 2, 2014, Smithsonian statement declared that the “[s]cientific evidence has demonstrated that the global climate is warming as a result of increasing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases generated by human activities.”

The effort to get museums to drop Koch came on the heels of a political attempt to force climate skeptics into revealing donor information.

Three Democratic senators recently attempted to intimidate Koch Industries and the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation (among others) into providing funding information about the groups they support which work on issues related to climate change.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., sent a letter February 25 to more than 100 groups, that asked for documentation regarding “payments made” during the last ten years “in support of scientific research and scientists, as well as support for other efforts related to climate change.”

On behalf of the corporation, Koch Industries Senior Vice President Mark Holden responded “we decline to participate in this endeavor and object to your apparent efforts to infringe upon and potentially stifle fundamental First Amendment activities.”

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